I was looking for some inspiration for a gift for my husband’s birthday and whilst searching the web, I came across a company called Charming Events. I read the list of different events they arrange and the Murder Mystery Evening on a Steam Train practically jumped off the screen! My husband is probably Agatha Christie’s biggest fan and also bemoans the fact that there aren’t any steam trains any more. So with two of his boxes ticked, I sent off for more details.
We travelled down to Sussex with a couple of friends and arrived at the very impressive Ashdown Park Hotel, where we were to spend the night, at about 3.15pm on Friday afternoon. To add to the atmosphere of a bygone era, already suggested by the brochure, we found the hotel was serving afternoon tea as we arrived! It was divine.
Our itinerary said we should be in reception by 6.15pm in order to check in and meet our fellow sleuths. We met up and boarded the bus that was to take us to a railway station owned and operated by the volunteers of The Bluebell Railway. The work they have done and continue to do, to keep the railway running is nothing short of miraculous.
Everyone was intrigued as to how they would carry out a murder on a train, (we were thinking Murder on the Orient Express here) but it soon became clear that we were first to watch a play, enacted in the improvised theatre above the waiting room of the station, by the brilliant actors of “The Company Upfront”. The play ended with a character being murdered and our job was to solve the “crime” with the help of our detective packs, whilst we were served dinner in a Pullman carriage of the Golden Arrow, travelling sedately through the Sussex countryside.
We had a great time. The dinner was delicious; characters from the play travelled with us and went from carriage to carriage, to be interviewed by “the detectives” in the hope that they could help us to solve the crime. There were some great actors taking part, lots of laughter and also serious concern as each of us rattled our little grey cells in an attempt to solve the clues and find the answers needed to complete our crime sheet.
Unlike the master detective Hercule Poirot, we changed our minds two or three times, before we handed in our crime sheet. Back at the station the winners were revealed – we weren’t among them. We did have the right murderer but didn’t get all the right clues, so no bottle of wine for us. We didn’t care. We had a great evening, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and went back to the hotel for a steaming mug of hot chocolate, just like Miss Marple would have done!
Life’s all about taking opportunities when they arise, here are a few I’ve seen.
Coliseum Rome, taking a break….
Hitching a ride……..
and finally, my missed opportunity to photograph a whale, he’s now just the dark shape in the middle of the photo
An open doorway………..
A quiet Sardinian street……..
Escaping across the lake……
This photo holds a special memory for me. It was taken a few years ago, at a time when I wasn’t sure which path to take. I took some time out to be on my own, to try to make up my mind what I wanted to do. The sunset was just so magical and being near the sea lifted my spirits, made me feel calm and able to make my decision.
This was the view from our holiday house in Majorca. It was breathtaking, the blue of the pool stretching out towards the blue of the bay below.
The weather was gorgeous, such a lovely change from what we had left behind at home and we all looked forward to enjoying both the pool and the sunshine for the next seven days of our family holiday.
Unfortunately, my baby granddaughter was taken ill with a virus on the first day we were there. The local doctor was marvellous, but it wasn’t until three worrying days later that she started to eat and drink again properly. When she was on the mend, I started to feel ill and although I didn’t need the attention of the doctor, I did feel sorry for myself and longed for my own bed. There’s nothing like your own bed when you feel under the weather is there?
We did manage to visit a few places towards the end of our stay. We drove to Port Soller and caught the little train from there to Soller. It was a lovely experience travelling through orange groves behind the houses on the sides of the tracks.
In Soller, we stopped to have lunch and enjoyed this wonderful view of the church.
We also went to Palma, where we all marvelled again at the wonderful cathedral standing guard over the entrance to the city and towering over the ships in the port.
The evenings were lovely and much cooler, ideal for a walk down to the bay. We found a nice little place where we could sit and have a drink and watch the sunset.
We are home and all feeling much better. The baby had a sore throat for a few days and I had a few days in bed shaking and shivering, but recovering, thanks to the antibiotics prescribed by my doctor for my swollen throat. We all loved Majorca and the area around Camp de Mar it is so peaceful and unspoilt – I hope it stays that way. In the words of someone famous “We will be back”…………..